• Becky Wallis

Old School Funny Makes For TV Success – The Goes Wrong Show Series 2

Updated: Apr 28

After thrilling socially distanced audiences with their outdoor ‘Mischief Movie Night’ tour for the past two summers, keeping us laughing through the long winter lockdown with the ‘Mischief Movie Night In’ livestreams, adding ‘Peter Pan Goes Wrong’ and ‘Christmas Carol Goes Wrong’ to streaming services and releasing series one of ‘The Goes Wrong Show’ on DVD, and thats all before returning this July with more live-streamed improvised hilarity, it’s safe to say that we have a lot to thank Mischief Theatre for. The brilliantly clever and funny team behind such successes as ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’ (which recently celebrated it’s 2500th West End performance), ‘Groan Ups’ and ‘Magic Goes Wrong’, have provided us with hours of entertainment, and if that’s not enough, they recently returned to our TV screens with the long awaited second series of their hit tv programme ‘The Goes Wrong Show’ with five brand new episodes

Spoilers Warning! I do talk about my favourite moments from each episode! These will be a list headed with a bold capitalised title so feel free to skip past these paragraphs!

Episode 1 – Summer Once Again


Dave Hearn as Max Bennett

Genre – Downton Abbey-esque period drama

Following a disastrous first series of ‘Play of the Week’, there’s been a coup in the ranks at Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society with director Chris Bean (Henry Shields) removed from his post, given the role of the lowly stable boy with actor Robert Grove (Henry Lewis) taking over control instead. Whilst Robert delights in teasing and making Chris look silly, the rest of the cast try their best to stage an ambitious period drama. But when Robert keeps insisting on restarting until they get it right, Annie (Nancy Zamit) causes issues for Vanessa (Bryony Corrigan), Sandra’s (Charlie Russell) wig has a mind of it’s own, Dennis (Jonathan Sayer) is left begging for no more, Max (Dave Hearn) tries to make the best of the situation and Jonathan (Greg Tannahill) struggles to get a word in whilst Chris watches the chaos unfold.

It was great to see a little bit more of the group dynamic here with the Cornley actors, especially the competitive nature between Chris and Robert, which created many a funny moment. Some running jokes from series one continue into series two, such as Jonathan and his issues with even making it into a scene, let alone delivering his lines, Vanessa’s unfortunate habit of regularly getting either hit, or having things thrown at her and, of course, Sandra still loves the camera, posing at every opportunity and Max still loves to showcase his signature grin.

FAVOURITE MOMENTS

  • The dance performed at break neck speed

  • Max and his oven gloves, and his delight at his task of splitting logs

  • Dennis reading from Robert’s directors diary

  • Max thinking it was a real car

  • ‘How many mistakes was that, Robert?’ – cue a smug Chris Bean


Henry Lewis as Robert Grove

Episode 2 – The Most Lamentable Tragedy of the Prince of England and his Long Lost Twin Brother, Prince Regent of France and the Problems Therein Experienced be all When they come to Know of One Another after a Battle or The Most Lamentable for short


Nancy Zamit as Annie Twilloil (Left) and Bryony Corrigan as Vanessa Wilcock-Wynn-Carraway (Right)

Genre – Shakespeare Tragedy

Chris is back in charge for this episode of ‘Play of the Week’ and he is getting his revenge on Robert by giving him a non-speaking role, much to the actors disgust. It’s an epic Shakespeare tragedy with perhaps one of Cornley’s most ambitious sets, and some incredible costumes. Even stage manager Trevor (Chris Leask) is in full costume and joining in. Chris and Max are playing long lost twins, which proves just too confusing for Dennis as he struggles with his role as the court jester, Annie in the role of the king as costume difficulties, Sandra’s dealing with a problem causing Robert, Jonathan’s luck is not improving as both the set and his costume conspire against him and the usually calm and collected Vanessa is finally losing her temper.

Series two really begins to dig a little deeper into the characters of Cornley, such as the fun loving Max, Annie with her the show must go on attitude, the ever forgetful Dennis, determined Jonathan and the constantly bickering Chris and Robert. The Most Lamentable is stuffed full of funny word play, along with some old school slapstick, malfunctioning costumes and sight gags, all wonderful ingredients for a perfect comedy.


Dave Hearn as Max Bennett (left) and Chris Leask as Trevor Watson (Right)

FAVOURITE MOMENTS

  • The fact that Trevor certainly didn’t enjoy his acting debut

  • Robert and the gong

  • Max’s ridiculous accents which gave him the giggles (AKA Dave Hearn getting the giggles and it being kept in)

  • Dennis’ jester song and dance

  • Vanessa losing her temper but trying to do it in character ‘Join me in Fiction’, ‘Get Malcolm! GET MALCOLM’

  • Tall man on a tiny horse, old school and done before but always funny

  • Robert’s army costume

  • Who let Max sword fight! Didn’t they learn their lesson with ‘The Murder at Haversham Manor’

  • ‘Execute Chris’


Henry Shields as Chris Bean with Dinky the horse

Episode 3 – There is no Escape

Genre – Prison break drama


Dave Hearn as Max Bennett and Jonathan Sayer as Dennis Tyde

Cornley certainly don’t allow the fact that they may make a few mistakes in their productions to stop them from being ambitious as they set their sights on a prison break drama set in the states. Harking back to series one, Dennis is back to playing an animal role again but continues to get lines and stage directions confused (throwing it back to the stag and get in and get out). Chris tries his best to hold it together as the set causes issues and the girls have to contend with playing very masculine prisoner roles. Robert is having arguments with the set and lighting, Max finds the fun in every situation and it’s the umpteenth round of Jonathan versus door. But at least Trevor is back in his comfort zone in stage management, if only that damn prison cell would stay together.

With There is No Escape, we were treated to a performance from an additional Cornley cast member with Robert’s niece Lucy Grove (Ellie Morris) returning after her appearances in their disastrous productions of Peter Pan and Christmas Carol. Sadly Robert hasn’t got any better at helping her but it was lovely to see her back. I have to praise the costume design here with genius body suits being used for the girls with hilarious results.


Ellie Morris as Lucy Grove and Henry Lewis as Robert Grove

FAVOURITE MOMENTS

  • Pecks, flies down

  • Sandra and her harmonica

  • Robert trying to contend with the office set

  • Chris trying to explain the plot of Star Wars

  • Robert adding more to the script

  • Max trying to share his costume with Chris

  • Trevor and the prison cell

  • spoons

Episode 4 – The Cornley Drama Festival Part One


From left to right, Nancy Zamit as Annie, Dave Hearn as Max, Greg Tannahill as Jonathan Harris and Jonathan Sayer as Dennis

This was something completely new for The Goes Wrong Show, with the episode split into sections of different plays rather than one half an hour performance. Each member of Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society was given a slot to perform whatever they wanted with Chris amazingly letting go of the reins (fighting off another coup) and letting them do whatever they wanted and hilarity ensued. In a throwback to series 1, Robert is out to promote his book ‘Anything you can act, I can act louder’ with an acting masterclass, much to Chris’ annoyance, Max continues to be a ray of sunshine even though he may not quite understand the meaning of kitchen sink drama, Vanessa’s attempt to overcome her fear of spontanaity with an improv performance goes array, especially when Dennis mistakes pretend for reality and Chris’ attempt at a high art ballet performance spirals out of control, and Jonathan, once again, is having issues.

What I loved about the Cornley Drama Festival episodes was how it allowed us to get to know the Cornley characters better and see their relationships with each other. Director Chris shows a nicer side by trying his best to help his fellow actors for the most part and we see the individual personalities of each of the society members. I also spotted the throwbacks to previous episodes in series one such as Vanessa’s struggles with foreign languages (a nod to ‘The Pilot, not the Pilot), a mention of the type of suit you might wear to court (a nod to ‘A Trial to watch) and a mention of lager beer (or should that be larger bear, a nod to ’90 Degrees)

FAVOURITE MOMENTS

  • ‘I AM A PLATE AND THIS IS GREAT’

  • If all else fails, run at the camera

  • Max and Dennis’ high five in the improv show

  • ‘Zoo’, nose boop

  • the costumes for the ballet

  • Dennis following footsteps in the ballet

  • Trevor walking in the circle to trap Dennis and get him to stop following him

  • The end title card


Henry Shields as Chris and Bryony Corrigan as Vanessa

Episode 5 – The Cornley Drama Festival part 2

This time it was Sandra, Dennis, Annie and Jonathan’s turns to present their pieces in the drama festival and we were treated to a radio play (or was that Sandra’s audition to the be the new voice of Marks and Spencers?), a very short new play written by Dennis, a 70’s farce stuffed full of innuendo and a big song and dance routine. Chris tried his best to remain calm, Vanessa was still as accident prone as ever, Sandra loved every minute in the spotlight, Dennis and Max prove themselves to be the double act we never knew we needed, Annie tries her best to get her play to go well, Trevor is having issues with sound effects and a horse, and for once, Jonathan makes it onto stage successfully, it’s just a shame that every other member of the ensemble of his ‘We are the Ensemble’ song did not.


Dave Hearn as Max and Jonathan Sayer as Dennis

Another delightful and hilarious insight into the characters of Cornley drama society that had us in stitches from beginning to end. I felt like we really got to know Cornley with these episodes which I loved. It was wonderful to see different characters interacting such as Sandra and Trevor and to see the friendships between the society members. The biggest moment of this episode was perhaps that finally after 12 episodes, Jonathan (Greg Tannahill) finally got his moment and without his ensemble to back him up, he handled it like a pro.

FAVOURITE MOMENTS

  • Trevor losing it with the sound effects

  • Max’s clog dancing outfit

  • Incompetantententtente (a nod perhaps to Dennis’ spelling difficulties in ‘The Pilot, not the Pilot with Plymlighmooth)

  • Spelling bees

  • ‘What is she like’

  • pink polkadots are in fashion

  • ‘What a palaver’

  • squeaky shoes

  • Vanessa’s costume malfunction (Bryony Corrigan is the queen of physical comedy)

  • Max and Dennis’ bow and hug

  • Jonathan’s solo proving himself to be multitalented as he shows that he can sing, juggle and ride a unicycle, just don’t ask him to do the splits


Greg Tannahill as Jonathan

Series 2 of The Goes Wrong Show is a delight from start to end, offering laughs and insights into our favourite Cornley characters. I, for one, am keeping everything crossed that they get a third series.

Whilst Cornley may go wrong, A LOT, The Goes Wrong Show is proof that Mischief Theatre can do no wrong.

You can watch series 2 of the Goes Wrong Show here https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episodes/m000csgs/the-goes-wrong-show along with last years Christmas special. Series 1 is available to purchase on DVD.


Images found via Google, not my own

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